6/20/09

Spectrum of peace and quiet

Sleeping late does not work for Orangeboy. Or it doesn't work for the rest of us. He, of course, LOVES to sleep late. And he likes to stay up later if it means getting in some extra computer time, but an inconsistent schedule for Orangeboy isn't favorable to a peaceful home.
I really should keep him on pretty much the same schedule year round, or just make a slight adjustment during summer vacation - the challenge being that I also like to stay up late and sleep late whenever possible. I wonder if being a better parent sometimes means being a grumpy parent. Things would probably go smoother if I kept MYSELF on a consistent schedule and then I could keep Orangeboy on one.

This is the way he rolls -
If I have to get him up in the morning, he is typically curled up in his bed with the covers tightly over his head. I often have to tug and pull to get the covers back. He is like a little stone or statue in the bed. He isn't relaxed and limp if I shake him or try to roll him over. His whole body is tightly locked into position. So after uncovering his face and trying to turn him onto his back against locked limbs; I open the room-darkening curtains to let in some daylight - which I hope will wake him.
Then I give him about five minutes and check back. He is sometimes sitting up or appears to have changed position, but is usually still not moving. If sitting, his head is hanging forward or he is slumped forward with his head on the bed.
At this point, I can sometimes get him moving with some verbal commands; like,
"Get moving! You need to get dressed!"
If not, I have to lift him off the bed and try to get him standing in order to further wake him up. Then I have to keep checking back to make sure he is still moving.

By contrast, if Orangeboy gets to sleep as long as he wishes and gets up on his own, he starts his day like an explosion. I usually hear a series of loud thumps on the floor as he jumps off his bed and hops around the room. He gets dressed quickly and then bursts from the room, thundering down the stairs. He spins, hops, and even somersaults around the house until he finally manages to make his way into the kitchen to look for breakfast. He grins and chatters about... who knows what.... I usually can't understand a word. He pirouettes on one foot and asks what time it is. I usually answer, "Why? You have a special appointment this morning?"

So what's so bad about letting him sleep late? Well, this hyper, cheerful Orangeboy may sound pleasant to you in theory. He may sound like a little ray of sunshine, but when you just want to get up on a peaceful Saturday morning and take your time getting into a relaxed day, and this kind of stuff goes on for a couple of hours, it's not so charming. And when you have a moody daughter who finds her brother's behavior even more annoying than you, and who, sooner than later, will start screaming at him - not so fun.
When he gets less breakfast in his mouth than on the counter, chair, floor, or his pants - harder to chuckle.
When you hear the scraping and bumping of his chair on the hardwood floor as he wiggles, rocks, and kicks and you just know he is ruining both the chair and the floor - not so cute. And then when he suddenly falls off a chair or barstool and hits the floor like an uncoordinated bag of potatoes and starts to cry and has bent his glasses - again. Well, maybe you're getting it.
But if you still don't get the picture - he'll snap right out of a full-on bawl fest and start leaping around and chattering about the amount of zinc in his cereal because he was reading the nutrition label while wiggling, talking, and spilling food just minutes before.
"Okay, okay. I know there is zinc in the cereal. I'm glad you're excited about that, but you can move on to something else now."

My preference is to have to wake up the statue in his bed than to have to put up with over-rested, loose cannon, HAP-PY boy! And I especially love it when I can sleep in and then get up to find that ORANGEBOY ISN'T UP YET! I get to wake him up! He'll be slow and low key.
I admit it - I'm a bad mom and a terrible person, but I actually prefer his spectrum-like behaviors to his ADHD symptoms. When Orangeboy is on a regular schedule and takes his ADHD medication at the same time each morning; and then retires to his room for reclusive, perseveration time - doing math and such - all is quiet on the home front. It's nice. And the furniture and his glasses are safe.

2 comments:

  1. I completely relate to the challenge of keeping myself on a consistent schedule in order to help my son keep a consistent schedule. Yet consistency really just isn't my thing! My kiddo is 7 with Asperger's and ADD, so we're just starting out on this path, but I've known for a long time that when I discipline myself I can discipline him so much better. But, geesh, it's hard! I want to sleep late, I want to rearrange my day, yada yada yada. Plus, sometimes life just isn't predictable!

    I'm glad to have found your blog. I've recently started blogging myself about our ASD journey and would love for you to stop by at The Map-Maker's Mother (www.lunday.com/mapmaker). Thanks so much!

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  2. Yay another terrible mom just like myself!! LOL Kidlet has an SPD diagnosis and you could have just described her instead of orangeboy! ( and also me :) ) I have found though that letting kidlets feet HIT the floor (she sleeps in a half- loft bed) we end up somewhere between lifeless lump and whirlwind. I always get up early though so I have my things done before kidlet gets up and our day begins!

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If you get the facetious, sarcastic, or humorous quality in this post, please comment! At least LOL.